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May 2, 2008 Minutes

Minutes for 05/02/08


Members present:  Senators Stone, Bond, Feakes, Furney, Hazlewood, Hindson, McGee, Meek, Melzer, Ogletree, Winek, Wilson


Guests: President Trauth; Provost Moore; Dr. Paul Gowens, Fin & Eco; Dr. Patrick Cassidy, Chem & Bio Chem;

Dr. Brock Brown, Geography; Dr. Carol Hazlewood, Computer Sci; Dr. Joey Martin, Music; Dr. Sally Caldwell, Sociology; Dr. Richard Warms, Anthropology; Scott Thomas, University Star



Meeting called to order at 4:00.


PAAG: The first items on the agenda were the PAAG items discussed by President Trauth and Provost Moore:

  • Texas State Separation from the Mitte Foundation:  President Trauth indicated that the separation was really associated with the capital campaign.  It was a distressing decision made with a great deal of thought and discussion.  With regard to the Mitte Scholarships, no students will be affected adversely.  Scholarships will continue under a different heading.  Regarding the five Mitte Chairs, they will also continue under a different heading although the one currently vacant chair will remain vacant until next year.  President Trauth did reiterate that student scholarships, both need-based and merit-based, were basic building blocks of the University’s capital campaign and that efforts would continue to guarantee that such scholarships were adequately funded.
  • Status of the University Ombudsman Search:  Provost Moore indicated that the current ombudsman, Dr. Walter Rudzinski, Chem & Bio Chem, has expressed a willingness to continue to serve.  He is also the interim chair of his department and has performed the dual role, interim chair and ombudsman, for the past year.  The Provost indicated that Dr. Rudzinski will continue to hold both positions.
  • Annual Survey of Faculty Perceptions of Administrators:  Provost Moore responded to the questions posed by the Senate about the survey:
    1. Does your administration have any formal process for incorporating the results of this data into the process for evaluating Deans?  -- No.
    2. Are you concerned about the persistently low results for some of the Deans? – Yes.
    3. Do you have any specific plans for addressing the lack of improvement on the part of some Deans? – Yes.
    4. The Provost conducted “special interviews” on one of the most poorly perceived administrators.  Were there any specific actions as a result of this effort? – Yes.
  • The Provost said he did not want to elaborate on his responses since a Star reporter was present, but he did indicate, with regard to question 1, the survey could be part of a formal process if his office took over the survey, but that a formal evaluation should include more that just the survey results; with regard to questions 2 and 3, he had talked to some of the Deans about feedback and will do that again with respect to the new survey data.  With regard to question 4, there were about fifty interviews conducted last fall, and, yes, there were specific actions, but he would offer no further details on that subject.  The Provost did emphasize that he is trying to utilize the survey to bring about useful change.  When asked how he might change the survey if administered by his office, he indicated that some of the questions might change; he would have to think about that more carefully.  However, he did indicate that the survey would continue to have a comment section, although he was not sure what groups should be able to view the comments.  This year’s survey data is available at faculty-senate/resources/survey.html
  • Student Athletes and Excuses Absences:  The President indicated that groups requesting excused absences on campus are far more inclusive than just student athletes.  They encompass students from all Colleges in the University and cover a myriad of student activities. UPPS 02.06.03 offers guidelines for excused absences, but the complication lies in the interpretation by different entities of what the guidelines actually mean. The Senate’s stance is that it is a faculty prerogative whether an absence from a class is an excused absence. The Provost indicated that he is not inclined to make the UPPS more precise.  He indicated that it was the faculty member who made the final decision on a student’s grade and there should, perhaps, be some wiggle room as to whether an absence was excused or not.  In classes where absence policies allow no more than a specific number of absences without penalty, student advisors should be alerted to inform students that those classes should not be taken during a semester when their activities require a number absences from class.
  • Construction Problems Concerning the Pleasant Street Garage:  Coyle Buhler, Director of Facilities Planning and Design, briefed President Trauth on the progress of construction around the Pleasant Street Garage and indicated that everything was on schedule for completion in December, 2008.




Research Enhancement Program:  Dr. Elizabeth Skerpan-Wheeler, English and Chair of the University Research Committee, reported that the committee had a successful year with few glitches.  The committee recommended a change in the wording regarding a year of employment after an REP grant is received.  Senate approval of the recommendation will be considered at the next Senate meeting.  The URC will need member replacements for the next session from Applied Arts and Health Professions.  Senators should be considering possible representatives.  Dr. Skerpan-Wheeler indicated that reviews of proposals were available to faculty.  The process is to request a review from the departmental representative, who will get the review from the chair of the college committee.


PPS 7.10: The Senate continued discussion on PPS 7.10, Procedures for Awarding Faculty Merit and Performance Raises.  The motion to reword Section 9.g. from “Chairs/directors may, but are not required to, inform their faculty of the final merit award for faculty members in the department/school” to from “Chairs/directors will inform their faculty of the final merit award for faculty members in the department/school” passed and will be forwarded to the Provost.


Faculty Workload Reports:  A show of hands among Senators indicated that all received their workload reports as required by PPS 7.05 Faculty Workload.  Persistence of requests seems to have finally borne fruit.


Installation of New Senators and Officers:  New Senators and officers were installed.

                Dr. Carol Hazlewood (Computer Science)
                Dr. Steven R. Furney (HPER)
Fine Arts & Communication:
                Dr. Joey Martin (Music)
 Liberal Arts:
                Dr. Sally Caldwell (Sociology)
                Dr. Brock Brown (Geography)
                Dr. Richard Warms (Anthropology)


Dr. Debra Feakes (Chemistry and Bio Chemistry)

Vice Chair: 

Dr. William Stone (Criminal Justice)


 Dr. Donald Hazlewood (Mathematics)

Summer Meeting Dates:  The summer schedule for Senate meetings:

                June 18th at 4 pm

                July 23rd at 4 pm


New Business:

  • UCC Recommendations: Several course and program proposals will need to be considered at the next meeting.  Most notable is the program proposal for a PhD in Criminal Justice.  Also, several members’ terms have expired and so replacements will be needed in Science, Fine Arts & Communications and Health Professions.
  • Survey Changes:  The Senate will need to consider possible survey changes in the future.
  • Parking Issues:  There still seem to be parking complaints regarding the shuttle, and someone remembered that the Pleasant Street Garage was to reopen in August 2008, not December 2008.  What’s next?
  • Commencement:  A complaint was raised that graduation ceremonies are no longer hooding Masters candidates.  It was decided to offer criticism at the “after action” meeting with the deans.


Minutes:  Minutes for 04/23/08 were approved as amended.